NEWSWATCH: “Last chance? Putin vows – again – to bring economic reform to Russia. In his state of the union speech Thursday, Putin said he would wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore its global reputation. But his window may be closing.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

… pledging … deep domestic reforms to wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore the country’s global reputation … Putin may be putting [his] powers to the test. … analysts say this may be the last chance to start delivering. … Putin … clearly realizes that … approval ratings depend heavily on … public prosperity Russians enjoyed during his first two terms … and his ability to fire up patriotism and deflect blame for the economic downturn of … on Western sanctions and adversarial efforts to isolate Russia. * * * … Economists have long argued that Russia needs to diversify its raw-materials-based economy, and dial back the weight of oil and gas exports in funding its state budget …. But … Kremlin-friendly “oligarchs” … have little interest in ceding market control to small entrepreneurial competitors. The political elite remains hostile to promoting the emergence of a mass, property-owning small business class that would be likely to start asserting itself in the political sphere. …

Click here for Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir: “Last chance? Putin vows – again – to bring economic reform to Russia. In his state of the union speech Thursday, Putin said he would wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore its global reputation. But his window may be closing”

[featured image is file photo]